Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Simplicity Project: Time Well Spent

One of the most challenging aspects of simplification for me is time management. I’m awful at it. I plan life away in the early morning, or late at night, but the actual doing evades me. I have no discipline. I’ve been examining the troubles in my time management recently - the best way to put off actually changing the way I spend my time, and I’ve discovered some disturbing trends:
  • I spend too much time planning! A good deal of my free time is spent with lists and journals piled all around me, while I put together a schedule for the day or the week, which is then completely abandoned, and so I’m forced to spend my next chunk of free time compiling a new and improved list - with the same results.
  • I spend too much time rereading favorite books, “just to rest a bit”. But I get absorbed, and then the day is lost.
  • And the worst offender - I spend too much of my time thinking 0f how lovely my life will be when I do actually follow the plans I’ve made for myself. It’s a lovely future I’ve dreamed up, but it does actually require activity outside of the imagination, and I prefer a more interior “activity”.
Fortunately for me, noticing my failings is helpful. It isn’t as simple enough that awareness causes instant change, but awareness helps. I’ve been working to include new, simple, easy to remember rituals in my day. My morning ritual includes breakfast with my husband, the angelus, feeding the pigs, washing, and exercise. I’m working add a half hour of writing to the morning, but mornings tend to be a needy time for Petka right now, so building in that ritual involves a bit of work. When the morning goes well, it’s easier to move into a day well spent. Noon is my toughest hour. It should be easier. The radio makes it obvious that morning is over - with the end of the classical music program and the beginning of the news - but somehow I always miss my noon angelus. Today was an exception, and these exceptions make for fantastic afternoons. Some of my other adjustments to improve the way I spend me time are:
  • Writing my to-do list the night before, and breaking tasks into time blocks, such as putting the cleaning in the hours before the classical music program, so the hours during the program can be free for writing and playing; and leaving the afternoon free for most of the outdoor chores.
  • Assigning certain tasks to certain days: baking and throwing on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, sewing and deep cleaning on Mondays, editing on that I don’t overwhelm each day’s list with more than I can handle.
  • Putting things I’m definitely going to do, like play with Yarrow and brush my teeth, that way, even if the day is a total wreck, I’ve managed something on my list. It’s very affirming.
I’m still a long way from my goal to spend my time well, but I can see and feel the difference that even a few small changes make. And I think feeling that difference is one of the most helpful things in the whole process, because it brings with it the feeling of success!


  1. I love your adjustments. Some of those work very well and very practically for me, especially blocking out time--funny how much more writing I get done if I put some in before opening up my email--and assigning certain tasks to certain days.

    And I firmly believe in the power of including the will-definitely-get-dones on the to-do list! So much less stress that way. All those little check marks feel so good. Besides, if they're definitely going to get done, they're probably important. :)

  2. I love the little checks! They totally boost my day! And they are important - even the ones like, "take a walk" and "read" and "check facebook" ;)